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No. 20 - May 1864
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No. 20



Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 11, 1864.


SIR: In accordance with instructions received from brigade head- quarters, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken in the affair of the past two days by the Third New Hampshire Volunteers: We left camp about 7 o’clock on the morning of the 9th, marched with the brigade to Chester Station, on Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, arriving about 1:12 p. m. Marched thence down the railroad to Port Walthall Junction, arriving about 2 p. m. thence to Richmond turnpike, where the regiment was ordered to report to Brigadier-General Terry, and by him posted at Brandon Bridge, on a road from Richmond to Petersburg, 2 miles from Petersburg, where we arrived about an hour after dark, with instructions to hold the position and allow no troops to advance across the bridge; to reconnoiter the position of the enemy; the condition of the bridge; the enemy’s batteries; the depth of water in the river. I marched the column to within about 700 yards of the bridge, formed a line of battle, and advanced with a line of skirmishers to within about 150 yards of the bridge, where I met the enemy advancing. (I was after- ward informed by a man living nearby that the enemy numbered 200, and were advancing to capture a cavalry patrol that had previously looked the ground over.) The enemy opened fire, which was returned, when he opened with grape and canister from a work on the opposite side of the river. The firing lasted but a few minutes. It being quite dark and knowing very little of the position of the enemy or the ground, I did not try to push the enemy back, but posted my pickets for the night. While reconnoitering the next morning, the enemy opened with grape and canister, firing a few rounds. This position was held until 1 p. m. 10th instant, when I was ordered to fall back. Proceeded up the turnpike to division headquarters, and was ordered to deploy my regiment as skirmishers at the front, where I remained until about 6 p. in., when I was ordered to return to camp. All the officers of my command behaved so well it would be difficult to select any particular one for special praise. The men behaved well and underwent their fatiguing duties cheerfully. The casualties were: Private John Smith, of Company D, wounded in hand (severe); Private Patrick Mansfield, Company I, in head (dangerously); and Private John Kennedy, Company A, a case of sun- stroke. In returning to camp, shots were accidentally fired by catching the triggers in the bushes, it being dark at the time, and the following named men were wounded: Private James Ryan, Company E, in leg (slight); Private John L. Wing, Company K, in finger (slight); Private John Wilson, Company K, in hand (severe).


I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. I. PLIMPTON, Lieut. Col., Comdg. Third New Hampshire Vols.


Lieut. E. LEWIS MOORE, A. A. A. G.,

2d Brig., 1st Div., 10th Army corps.




Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 16, 1864.


SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third New Hampshire Volunteers during the past four days: We left camp on the morning of the 12th instant, marched to the west side of the turnpike near Perdue’s House, and bivouacked for the night. Next morning marched to the right of the enemy’s line of entrenchments, a distance of about 6 miles, when we were ordered to pass to the rear of a fort on his right and take the same. As I approached the fort I found I must p ass over a creek with a bridge two planks wide, pass up a steep hill so thickly wooded as to be unable to deploy until I had reached the open field within the fort. Just as we commenced to cross the bridge I found the enemy had discovered us and thrown a line of skirmishers on the crest of the hill in front to stop our approach. They opened fire and it was returned by my advance. I hurried forward as fast as possible, and finding no possibility of deploying in line I pushed forward by the flank, left in front, and as I reached the field swung round into line as best we could. My men steadily advanced, driving the enemy (who were now pressing upon us in large numbers) back to the parapet of his work, and he, finding no one advancing on his front, jumped over the parapet in front of his work and took cover there, and many of them occupied the buildings, from which place they continued a heavy fire upon us, my men taking the best cover they could find. The enemy far outnumbered my command and had excellent cover but my men tenaciously held their position until about 500 of the enemy were discovered on our left flank passing to our rear, evidently with the intention to flank us. I sent for re-enforcements, and after waiting as long as I considered my men safe from the flanking party and no help coming, I ordered them to fall back to the edge of the wood and there form line, intending to throw my left wing back to op pose the flanking party while my right should hold the front until help should come; but the fire of the enemy was so terrible as they crossed the open field I found it impossible to stop them until they reached the bottom of the ravine at the creek ,where I was forming them, when re-enforcements came, and I was ordered back across the creek in the field to form. The force I had to contend with in the fort was said by the prisoners taken to consist of two brigades, numbering about 3,000. In this engagement we took some 8 or 10 prisoners. That evening we were placed in the trenches for the night. Next morning (14th) moved along the enemy’s line of entrenchments and took up position in his front, and while drawn up in column as sup- port to the line in front had 2 men killed and 6 wounded. At night went to the front for picket duty, where during the night we dug a ditch for cover as best we could with tin pans, dippers and plates. Next morning (15th) the enemy commenced firing upon us, which was returned, and heavy firing continued all day. Was relieved at night and fell back in rear of the woods for the night. Our casualties for the day were 3 enlisted men killed and 5 wounded. Next morning (16th) was ordered to the front to charge over the enemy’s work. After lying in rear of picket-line for some time, waiting orders to go forward, I was ordered to the rear, and in falling back our loss was considerable. Fell back to the right and rear, and halted in rear of a small piece of woods. While there the enemy charged out of his work directly in my front and attempted to flank the troops on our left. I was ordered to advance and engage the enemy, and did so. After a few minutes firing he began to shake, and I immediately ordered a charge and drove him into a piece of woods, where he attempted to rally, but could not, and retired to his work. We took 1 lieutenant-colonel, 1 major, and some 15 privates prisoners, and left a large number of the enemy dead and wounded in the woods and on the ground we occupied. Afterward was ordered to fall back, and came to camp same evening. Casualties of the day were 2 officers killed and 1 wounded; 7 enlisted men killed and 34 wounded, and 13 missing. During the four days engagements my officers and men behaved in a most gallant manner, and nobly and cheerfully did their duty and underwent the hardships and privations to which they were subjected. Enclosed is a list of the killed, wounded, and missing for the four days covered I this report.


PLIMPTON, Lieut. Col.,

Comdg. Third New Hampshire Vols.


Lieut. E. LEWIS MOORE, A. A. A. G.,

2d Brig., 1st Div., 10th Army Corps.






Bermuda Hundred, Va., June 3, 1864.


SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the affair of yesterday: In accordance with orders my men (about 200) moved out to the Redan in front of Battery No. 3. I then reported to General Terry, who ordered me to go out to the picket-line and communicate with the officer in charge of the picket-line, after which I reported to General Terry again, and was ordered to deploy my men in front of the Redan and move up and retake the rifle-pits in the field and in the woods on the right; but after looking over the ground and finding it nearly impossible to get through the timber, and knowing I should be seen plainly by the enemy and draw a heavy fire, I concluded to march my men round to the picket-line, and moved through to the woods to the left, where I deployed half my men in a direction so as to flank the corner of the woods next the open field and moved up cautiously until near the enemy, when, at the order, my men dashed forward over the pits of the enemy and were hardly restrained from following the retreating enemy to his own works. At the same time the line moved up, the balance of my men were moved still more to the left by the flank through the timber and into the pits in the open field, while the line occupied the enemy’s attention on the right. A considerable number of prisoners were taken, but being immediately sent to the rear I am unable to state the number. I occupied our old line of pits, extending to the right through the woods about 400 yards. Here the Thirty-Ninth Illinois Volunteers moved up and connected with my right at my request. From my right the line bore off to the light across the road to Ware Bottom Church, about 150 yards in advance of the line first occupied by our forces. I found in the woods near the open field the enemy had dug a new line of pits a little north of our own line. After occupying the line I proceeded, in accordance with General Terry’s instructions, to establish a new line a little in rear of the one now held and connecting with the old pit first occupied by our forces, and detailed an officer to take charge of a working party and commence digging the pits. In this affair my officers and men behaved in a most gallant manner, nobly doing their duty. Capt. William H. Maxwell rendered me great assistance as acting major of the regiment, and deserves special mention for his conduct at this time. About dark my men were relieved and returned to camp. The casualties were as follows, making a total of 2 killed and 8 wounded.


I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. I. PLIMPTON, Lieut. Cot., Comdg. Third New Hampshire Vols.


Lient. E. L. MOORE, A. A. A. G.,

2d Brig., 1st Div., 10th Army Corps.



SOURCE: The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 36 (Part II); pages 66-69.